Dave White
Planet 51 Review

Who's In It: The voices of Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott, John Cleese

The Basics: A planet of happy green creatures who live in an anthropomorphic, idyllic, Leave It to Beaver-like 1950s--but with the flying cars we were promised--are visited by an alien: a red-haired, lantern-jawed, American astronaut from 2009, an unfunny Buzz Lightyear who's as freaked out by them as they are by him. Misunderstandings, perceived threats and lots of chase scenes ensue before we all get taught a lesson about believing in yourself and appreciating the differences in others. Because they don't make enough animated features that cover those bases.

What's The Deal: When even the space-fish farting jokes don't work, when you have to rely on an innuendo-laden discussion of penises as weirdly situated antennae, alien anal probes and buttplugs to liven things up for the adults in the audience, you know you're watching a movie that can't decide if it's for kids or grown-ups. Then the movie decides to forget about being very interesting for either demographic. But the chases, explosions, splats and stuff-falling-down parts will be more than enough to entertain the average six-year-old who hasn't seen Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars or Pleasantville. Parents, time to flip that coin for chaperone detail.

Why It Will Make A Lot Of Money: It looks cheap. And it's mediocre. People love that kind of thing. And because it's not complex like Coraline or Fantastic Mr. Fox--amazingly cool animated features that don't insult anyone's intelligence--it'll appeal to kids who plan on growing up to be the lowest common denominator. Everybody wins.

Cleverest Touch: The robot dog that looks like Wall-E and the other pet that resembles what would happen if the monster in Alien was a puppy. It's named Ripley, of course. See, kids, here's a joke that's going to crack you up. There's this lady named Sigourney Weaver and...

Still Better Than: That latest Ice Age movie. I know I'm a broken record about that one, but I'm still angry that I had to watch it. So it's not a review of an animated feature unless I take the opportunity slam that film at least once.


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